About three months prior to my visit I had reserved two rooms for two nights on the South Dakota travel website, confirmation numbers and everything, that I printed out and took with me to Deadwood. When I made my reservation, I even called the hotel directly to make sure that I had booked correctly the specific types of rooms and arrangements that I required (I needed a smoking room with two beds and a non-smoking room with only one bed). Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered upon arrival that they had correctly booked the single room for the night of my arrival, BUT had the double room booked to arrive THE FOLLOWING NIGHT (no matter what was printed on the website reservation print-out).
Sensing some tension from me ("What do you MEAN you only have one of the rooms?!?!?"), the desk person immediately deferred to an Assistant Manager ("We've been having some difficulty with the transfer of the website information to our reservation office.") who arranged for a double room in the "annex" across the street at no charge, from which we could move to a suite in the main building the following night for the regular room rate. Howevr, we'd have to check-out of the "annex" room and into the new "suite" room sometime after 11:00 a.m. the following day. Despite choosing the Franklin specifically for the purpose of experiencing the "historic" ambience, and despite having planned to spend the next day (July 4th) away from the hotel with relatives who live in the Black Hills, this solution seemed to be the only choice available to us.
The across- the-street "annex" is a pale shadow of a strip motel. Our 1960s-moderne room was right next to the laundry room, in which sheets and towels were loudly washed throughout the night. And the room had only a backlit fluorescent strip above each bed for overall lighting. However, the rooms in the actual historic hotel were only marginally better. Though functionally adequate in terms of plumbing, lighting and air handling, they appeared to have undergone little renovation since, when? 1920, 1930, 1950. Even the "suite" (which had a full kitchen, dining room, living room with bar, and two full sized bedrooms) seemed forlorn and cavernous in its general decoration.
The whole episode was capped off at check-out, when the front desk appeared to have no knowledge of the "solution" arrangements made two days earlier by the Assistant Manager, and presented me with a bill on which my credit card had been charged for two "historic" rooms for two nights each. Upon protesting that that "wasn't at all correct," I was quickly surrounded by hotel security guards who were ready to treat me as if I were a troublemaker. I calmy reiterated the entire story to a phalanx of desk clerks who'd gathered, one of whom dug into the computer and discovered that..ah, yes, there had apparently been a special arrangement.
And did I mention parking? When I arrived (only to find out that our reservations weren't correct), I was told that parking was across the street in front of the "annex," or behind the main hotel in the school (!) parking lot, or in the bank parking lot a block away, space in which was leased by the hotel when the bank wasn't open. Since the annex lot was full, I tried the school lot, only to find it LOCKED with a chain-link fence. I left my car at an on-street parking space and lugged my luggage back to the lobby, at which point one of the hotel employees told me that...well, they have a key to the school lot at the desk. He also recommended parking in the municipal parking garage two blocks down Main Street, and the hotel would reimburse the cost. But since the next day was July 4th I chose to move my car into the bank lot, taking advantage of the fact that the bank would be closed. When I came to retrieve my car the next morning, however, a previously invisible parking attendant appeared, admonishing me for not having gotten a "red tag" for my car from the front desk. Who knew!?
The Franklin's location is top-notch. Its pedigree is such that it could be a real gem as a fully renovated historic hotel. But, for the moment, it's a freaky disappointment with a staff that only partially gets that customer service is what it's all about. At the very least, guests shouldn't have to guess how properly to deal with their cars. When we finally drove on, to continue our vacation, it felt like we'd extracted ourselves from some bizarre "Hotel California" limboland.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel and Gaming Complex is located at the Top of Main in the Historic town of Deadwood, SD. The Silverado & Franklin feature over 375 state of the art slot machines, 22-blackjack tables and 5 live poker tables in one of Deadwood's most elegant poker rooms. Callahan's Irish Pub and the Veranda (seasonal) serve all of your favorite spirits as does the lounge at the Silverado. All you can eat Crab and Prime Rib Buffet every Friday and Saturday. Deadwood's Premier Steakhouse - Legends Steakhouse serves breakfast and dinner daily. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel And Gaming Complex
- Silverado Franklin Historic Deadwood
- Historic Franklin Hotel